Seraph: Top Gun in the World of Angels
The name ‘Seraph’ (plural: seraphim) is a direct term for the highest rank of angels in kabbalistic tradition. The term refers to a “burning one” – something Neo sees when he first views him.
As discussed in our background material on the worlds of existence, the realm of angels is the world between the spiritual heavens and our physical earth. This world relates to the ladder in the Biblical story of the dream of Jacob, with angels ascending and descending, between above and below.
Guardian of the Heavenly Throne
Being the ‘top rung’ of angels, Seraphim are the closest to the ‘heavenly’ world above theirs. A seraph can thus be seen as the ‘guardian’ of the world of that spiritual world and in relation to the Matrix, guardian of the Oracle.
The Oracle is the critical connection between the humans ‘below’ and the upper worlds ‘beyond’ hers.
Which is why Seraph states:
“I protect that which matters most.”
The significance of the Oracle as the sefirah of “Binah/Understanding,“ as “what matters most,” in terms of connecting everything below it, is expressed in this kabbalistic work:
“This is the sefirah called Binah. You must be aware that this is the Name that connects all the sefirot with its powerful bonds of emanation and magnetism. For this is the third name of the three highest Names which are united ... From this name the everflow of light, emanation and blessing, flows through all the channels until the lower seven sefirot are blessed from the three upper sefirot.”
“Sha’are Orah” (Gates of Light) Yosef Gikatilla, 12th century
To Fight Him is to ‘Know’ Him
Neo meets with the Oracle three times – once in every movie. She sets his ‘condition,’ each time, which he then has to learn to understand and fulfill. When Neo ‘meets the condition’ given to him, he has rectified that level of himself – of his soul. (And we get another movie!)
Neo did have something he had to attain even before his first meeting with the Oracle. In “The Matrix,” he had to ‘fight’ Morpheus to become ready to meet the Oracle (i.e., connect to Binah). This connection was at the level of Nefesh in the first Matrix movie.
Morpheus explained their sparring as having to do with Neo understanding the ‘rules’ of the Matrix world. All spiritual advancement requires you to work for it in some manner. For Neo, it was about restricting his previous false view of reality, to make room for what was ‘real,’ as Morpheus spoke of.
This process of restriction to make room for something new is called tsimtsum.
In order to access Binah/the Oracle at the next soul level of Ruach Neo once again has to ‘fight’ someone. Only this time it’s a real battle, at least until Seraph stops it.
This leads to a question: As Neo has a much stronger knowledge of the Matrix by now, why does he have to get into this scrap – even if it isn’t a ‘real’ fight?
Seraph gives a strange answer to Neo’s inquiry as to why they had to fight:
“You do not truly know someone until you fight them.”
The term to ‘know’ is da’at. It relates to an “intimate connection” between things. This can be physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual.
Neo had to create the proper ‘connection’ before Seraph could let him move forward to meet the Oracle at this new, higher level, and embark on his next ‘condition.’
This is his task in The Matrix Reloaded.
This is the same principle Morpheus was teaching Neo in their early combat training. He had to become intimate with the rules of the Matrix, which he could bend and which he could break, through fighting his teacher.
As Morpheus said to his student:
What are you waiting for? You’re faster than this. Don’t think you are, know you are.